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Welcome to Muse on Booze…

Muse on Booze

Welcome to our blog where we …errr, have a muse on booze.

Sammy and Jymi are just a couple of dudes who love the odd drink and also love to rate stuff, as we all do hey? So why not combine the two.

We review a beer every week and post it each weekend. So keep those eyes peeled now won’t you. As time ticks on we’ll be doing a few other booze related bits and bobs too, so again. EYES. PEELED!

See soon..

TWITTER: @museonbooze

 

DEVON DUMPLING

BREWER: Bays Brewery, Devon, England

STYLE: Golden Ale 

ABV: 5.1%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle 

TWITTER: @BaysBrewery

INSTAGRAM: baysbrewery

DATE OF POST: 17th October 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

With an exceptional name like Devon Dumpling one would be expecting a strong and heavy winter ale. One to settle down with during the deep winter in front of a roaring fire with a chum and just chew that cud.

But DD is not that. Its’s a great Golden Ale. So, of course it is good news that the beer is a goodun but I’m not sure the name has been thought through too well. Sounds good, is good, but doesn’t suit the brew.

Anyway, as already mentioned, this is a cracking beer you know! A lovely spicy toned nose starts the party soon followed but an exceptional mouthfeel in the sip and swallow. I think we can probably thank the Devonian water for this. The spicy ride continues into the taste which may I add is very refreshing. The aftertaste is soft, not in a bad way, just soft and pleasant.

My only issue with this beer (other than the name match situation) is that seeing as this is branded as a STRONG GOLDEN ALE and is carrying a 5.1% abv, I think I wanted a bit more of a hit. Not much more, just a bit more.

However, when all’s said, Bays Brewery have produced a lovely beer in Devon Dumpling.

Jymi’s Rating: 86%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Who’d have ever thought we’d be drinking a beer named Devon Dumpling? Yet here we are, doing exactly that. Furthermore, who’d have thought a beer named Devon Dumpling would be any good? However, turns out it’s quite the find…

DD’s nose is intriguing and best described as being fairly complex with some spice hint backed by some sharp citrus fruit and some more rounded summer fruits. A little light on the nasal cavity, it’s a tempting introduction to the (fairly dark) golden ale.  Without the label of being a golden ale, I would describe it somewhere between the aforementioned brewing style and a trad bitter.

In the drinking DD really comes alive. It starts light and acidic, then onto heavy and full bodied in the middle all rounded off with a light finish. It makes for an unusual drinking experience but I like it. Each mouthful is a delightful surprise and it keeps DD fresh and interesting. Not necessarily a traditional golden ale but it’s a great drink.

This is one to get your hands on folks because if nothing else it’s quite different.

Sammy’s Rating: 87%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 86.5%

MOB review next weekend: HIGH DEFINITION by SIREN CRAFT BREW & GREEN CHEEK BEER CO

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

SUSSEX GOLD

BREWER: Arundel Brewery, West Sussex, England

STYLE: Golden Ale

ABV: 4.2%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @ArundelBrewery

INSTAGRAM: arundelbrewery

DATE OF POST: 10th October 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Another 4ish% British Golden Ale you say… We’ve heard it all before Jymi I hear you cry. However, even though Sussex Gold isn’t wildly different to it’s brothers/competitors, it ain’t the same either…

Things got off to a magnificent start with SGs whiff… it is exceptional! A delightful vibrant citrus hit with a sweet hoppy thing going on too but also accompanied by a savory grass tone. It’s not often Jymi’s olfactory factory (nose in layman’s terms) pick’s up such nuances but the smell from this brew really was that good.

Once into the sip what became apparent was that Arundel Brewery really knew what they were up to as the mouthfeel and drinkabilty of this beer was also fantastic.

However, there is a slight lack in body and aftertaste. Plus I found this Golden a bit uncarbonated for me…

However, this is possibly all part of it’s genius. Any more body and aftertaste and the drinkability would dip. Any more carbonation and the sessionabilty would dip.

It’s a real fine line.

But when all is said and done Arundel Brewery have produced a very nice drop here.

Jymi’s Rating: 79%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Sussex Gold is a good example of a traditional golden ale done well. It’s clear, golden colour is as expected and this only serves to get the old tastebuds excited!

The nose is pleasant, grassy, but nothing to write home about. It’s in the drinking that the nose comes alive. As you quaff your first pull of the drink you really do get that summer mowed lawn sensation. And I love that.

The mouthfeel is good at first but perhaps a little too smooth in the finishing for a golden. To be fair, this initial smoothness does wear off as you drink on. SG gets better the further down the glass you go.  And this keeps it an interesting offering.

There is definitely a citrus note mid drink and I’d describe it as lightly hopped.

I like it. It’s a good beer.

Worthy of its name.

Sammy’s Rating: 81%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 80%

MOB review next weekend: DEVON DUMPLING by BAYS BREWERY

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

 

COOL BEANS

BREWER: Butts Brewery, Berkshire, England

STYLE: Porter

ABV: 2.3%

VESSEL: 330ml brown bottle

TWITTER: #buttsbrewery

INSTAGRAM: #buttsbrewery

DATE OF POST: 4th October 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

As a keen gardener I can’t help feel like there are not enough hours in the day to keep on top of things out there let alone implement ideas and a few new additions. The main reason for this is that I’m not retired – I’m middle aged, with a full time job plus I run a local beer delivery service AND have to write this s**t every week! So time is short and before you know it, the grass is not. So when I do manage to get out there it is normally a jungle that needs taming. An early rise and straight to it is normally required with a head down attitude of just smashing it out.

After several hours toil it is time to take a break. It’s 11am. And you should probably have a coffee, but after such a tough stint, you quite fancy a beer… Step up COOL BEANS!

What an amazing little brew! Of course with this ABV the flavour isn’t going to smack you in the chops but it is tasty nonetheless. Light and refreshing with a definite dry coffee aftertaste that brings a caffeine buzz along to the party as well.

Great concept. Great execution. Great beer.

Anyway, back to the garden, this conifer unicorn isn’t going to shape itself…

Jymi’s Rating: 72%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Cool Beans is an interesting proposition. It might not say it on the bottle, but it’s brewed with coffee. And you can tell. The concept of this brew is literally to be a light morning style beer. Sounds odd, I know. But it actually really works.

Right, so it’s a little absent in the mouth. And it tails of at the end. But other than that, it’s a great drinking experience.

The coffee influence starts with the nose and carries right on through to the drinking. And I like it. It works really well with the stout brew. It’s a match made to exist together.

Cool Beans is an interesting beer, no doubt. But it’s much more than that. It’s beer that has a place in the market and would be snapped up with more exposure.

Sammy’s Rating: 74%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 73%

MOB review next weekend: SUSSEX GOLD by ARUNDEL BREWERY

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

JAIL ALE

BREWER: Dartmoor Brewery, Devon, England

STYLE: Golden Ale

ABV: 4.8%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle 

TWITTER: @DartmoorBrewery

INSTAGRAM: dartmoorbrewery

DATE OF POST: 26th September 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

I have to say the swallow and aftertaste of this brew is just exquisite. Vibrant with a zesty fruit in the swallow moving to a creamy toffee like aftertaste. Very very good indeed.

However, and it is an however, the things that proceeded this loveliness kinda let it down.

There is something in the sip that I did not get on with. Wasn’t horrible but I was not too sure about it at all. I also could not pick what it was though. Pro as ever eh!

However once the aforementioned aftertaste waltzed in this became a really good sippable brew

Overall this is a pleasant beer absolutely at home for ‘avin’ a chin wag for 5 n 20 in the West Country.

Jymi’s Rating: 69%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

The name of this brew definitely deserves a mention for its brilliantness: Jail Ale. While the prison may now be a low security affair, that’s not always been the case. So a beer brewed on Dartmoor and named Jail Ale is quite simply a stroke of genius.

Once unleashed JA surprisingly has a nice caramel colour in the glass. And the nose matches this well with its sweet burnt caramel notes. It’s light and uncomplicated but very clean.

JA has some sweetness in the taste giving way to a slight bitter finish. And interestingly there’s a creamy mouthfeel.

This is quite a straightforward brew. It wouldn’t be to everyone’s liking but it is different. There’s definitely a uniqueness about it and that’s a good thing.

It rich and Personally, I like it but I’d understand that it could split the crowd.

Sammy’s Rating: 82%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 75.5%

MOB review next weekend: COOL BEANS by BUTTS BREWERY

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

 

ERDINGER WEISSBIER

BREWER: Erdinger, Bavaria, Germany

STYLE: Wheat Beer

ABV: 5.3%

VESSEL: 0.5l brown bottle

TWITTER: @ErdingerWB

INSTAGRAM: there are hundreds, search and take your pick

DATE OF POST: 19th September 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

A widely available beer, as in this sucker has gone global, and also the world’s number one selling wheat beer. However, before today I don’t recall ever trying it.

OK, I’m going to keep this brief…

Whilst initially sipping this beer I thought a fairly positive review was going to be coming out of my typing fingers. Pleasant, thick but somehow refreshing. These were positive signs for sure. But then the notes went something like this…

Doesn’t taste 5.3%, actually it doesn’t taste of anything at all. 

The more I got into this beer the more it dawned on me that it pretty much has no flavour!

It’s drinkable, it’s certainly sessionable, but a beer that doesn’t taste of anything?? Well well.

Jymi’s Rating: 43%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Erdinger is one of the best known examples of a wheat beer (even if those consuming it don’t realise this). And, of course, that means it’s mass produced. That doesn’t always mean poor quality – we have plenty examples of that not being the case. However, Erdinger is very much middle of the road and even though wheat beers aren’t my bag (or beer) there are much better brews of this type out there.

The nose isn’t doing too much but there is a hint of banana, which doesn’t do too much for me. But the real mediocrity of Erdinger is felt in the drinking. Sure, it’s got more presence in the mouth than you might expect but it doesn’t have too much flavour.

If you focus really hard, you get a slight spicy finish, preceded by light fruitiness. But the thing is, you shouldn’t have to try hard to find those flavours.

Erdinger might be one of the best selling wheat beers, it most certainly isn’t representative of the brewing style. Average at best.

Sammy’s Rating: 45%

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 44%

MOB review next weekend: JAIL ALE by DARTMOOR BREWERY

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

 

WOLF OF THE WOODS

BREWER: Twickenham, West London, England

STYLE: Premium Bitter

ABV: 4.7%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: @TwickenhamAles  

INSTAGRAM: twickenhamales

DATE OF POST: 12th September 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Bitter. Best Bitter. Premium Bitter. What’s the difference?

Well I suppose it is very easy to say the latter is better than the prior and the one in between is just that. But why would it be better?

Quality of ingredients used? Care taken in the brew? Small batch brewing to ensure quality?

The actual answer is that this is a murky world and the difference is what you make of it. A small example of just how beer styles are being confused nowadays. The fact the term Session IPA exists and is an oxymoron pretty much sums this up.

HOWEVER, Wolf of the Woods is described as a Premium Bitter and is utterly sensational so maybe just maybe, Premium Bitters are better than Bitters? Whatever, it’s subjective, I’m moving on…

As already stated, WOTW is an absolute belter of a brew! Twickenham Brewery have completely smashed it, honestly.

A huge beery, hoppy and slightly sweet nose leads the way. My notes said, “this is what beer should smell like”. Next up is the sip and it is straight down to business with a beautiful grassy lemon hop bite (not the biscuity malt suggested on our label, but I was totally OK with that). The aftertaste then contains all mentioned above and goes on and on and on! Sensational stuff.

There is not much more to say.

Find it, drink it, love it.

Jymi’s Rating: 91%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

They say you shouldn’t reinvent the wheel. Take that to mean what you will, but basically we shouldn’t be trying to make something that’s already good even better. And that could be applied to British bitter. There are so many well established brands out there smashing this part of the beer market. There’s some absolute behemoths that have their loyal  following, who are unwilling to waver from their well trodden path.

So, taking that into account, I love it when a small brewery attempts to reinvent the wheel. And that’s exactly what Twickenham is doing with Wolf of the Woods, which is a modern British bitter.

I have to say, it’s incredibly good. In fact, it’s one of the better bitters I have had in a long while. Surprisingly not too bitter, WOTW is very well balanced. Although it might be quite simple, it’s very well rounded with a nice subtle bitter pull at the end.

Not dominated by hops, it still packs enough burnt caramel flavour to make it interesting. WOTW is a very good beer. It’s well conceived and well executed.

This one’s well worth a go! Fabulous.

Sammy’s Rating: 92%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 91.5%

MOB review next weekend: ERDINGER WEISSBIER by ERDINGER

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

EFES

BREWER: Gebruat, Istanbul, Turkey

STYLE: Beer / Lager 

ABV: 5%

VESSEL: 50cl brown bottle 

TWITTER: #efes

INSTAGRAM: #efes

DATE OF POST: 5th September 2021

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Although I don’t love the packaging of Efes, I feel the bottle deserves a mention. The creatives have gone out of their way to make a barrel shaped bottle, and while the gimmick doesn’t work on the label design, the bottle itself is well thought through.

Beyond the container, Efes is a little underwhelming. It would be unfair to describe it as poor. But it’s definitely unremarkable. The mouthfeel is fine but the taste has a long pulling aftertaste which isn’t particularly pleasant.

There are no high points with this one. It’s fairly flat throughout. While it’s not going to win any awards, Efes might well quench your thirst on a hot day. Don’t expect too much else from this as it doesn’t have anything else to offer.

Sammy’s Rating: 48%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

When I picked this beer up for me and ol’ Sammy boy to test I pretty much did so because of the bottle. It’s cool, well I thought it was…

See, for 6 days I had it out on display to really draw a conclusion on the packaging as a whole. Slowly I grew to hate it. It is flipping awful and does not make the beer desirable in any way shape or form. Though I admire the effort at least.

The brew itself is ok though. I mean, it is just a classic 5% Med lager. A touch tinny in the aftertaste but just straight down the line not good but not bad stuff really.

Onto the next eh…

Jymi’s Rating: 49%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 48.5%

MOB review next weekend: WOLF OF THE WOODS by TWICKENHAM BREWERY

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

BILLY DON’T YOU RUN SO FAST

BREWER: Double-Barrelled, Berkshire, England

STYLE: Sour

ABV: 5.3%

VESSEL: 440ml tin

TWITTER: @DBBrewery

INSTAGRAM: doublebarrelledbrewery

DATE OF POST: 29th August 2021

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Billy Don’t You Run So Fast is one of those rare beers: it’s amazing. From inception to drinking, this one is an absolute belter of a brew.

Let us begin at the beginning BDYRSF has a cracking colour combo on the tin. I also love the kitchen utensils; a clear nod to the apple crumble inspiration. Subtle but very clever. Easy to miss if you don’t think about it.

The nose is light but you get the blackberry and cinnamon, a small insight of the greatness that is about to be unleashed when you jump in to the drinking.

When you drink BDYRSF you get an immediate BOOM. What an amazing sour! It hits the brief perfectly. Think sour apple up front followed by a cinnamony hit of blackberry.  This is all ended with the roundness of vanilla. Sublime.

Balanced perfectly and amazingly leaves the palate clean afterwards. This is an incredible beer. Love it.

Sammy’s Rating: 93%

 

JYMI SAY’S…

Sammy and I have been at this every single week since October 2017. There have been highs and there have been lows. There have been some of the most incredible brews along the way as well as farcical beers and ones that sounded ridiculous on paper but were actually lovely. On the whole however, most of the brews we have put under the MOB microscope (Mobroscope? Na) have been pretty decent. But, occasionally, something spectacular our way comes…

Ladies and Gents, we bring you BILLY DON’T YOU RUN SO FAST.

I’m shaking as I write this, due to the excitement I might add not the sour forward that this beer brings.

We’re going to have to start with the name, a line from the Bill Withers (who unfortunately is no longer with us) tune Grandma’s hands. Now, seeing as this beer is inspired by a crumble this is an absolute MONSTER of a beer name. Ok, Bill does not mention crumble or any kind of baking in the track, however I think it’s fair to say Grandmas hands and crumble live together as either a memory or a beautiful visual in one’s imagination.

Well done Double-Barrelled.

Moving to the tin art, the colours as just fantastic and totally in keeping with our theme! The deep purple of blackberry, the butter yellow of crumble all hosting a backdrop of a wooden spatula and rolling pin as well as various other baking tools, just flippin’ brilliant!

Well done Double-Barrelled, well done indeed.

Ok so DB have aced the name and tin design but what is going on in the all important inside of the tin?

Well, they’ve aced that too!! Man, this is a decent beer!

So here is how it went down…

Sour up front, not a massive toe curling, eye popping sour up (which I love btw) but just a very pleasant unchallenging level. The beer in the swallow was juicy, smooth, thick and utterly delightful I must say. Now it was at this point in the first sip I panicked a little. See there is about a one second gap after the swallow where the flavour dips out, disappears, almost falls off a cliff actually…

But once that second has passed off go the blackberry and apple flavour canons and all is more than well in the world. As you progress through the brew that one second gap begins to disappear as your palate calms down but the awesome taste of this beer does not dip in the slightest.

Well Double-Barrelled, well flippin done indeed!

I like the way you work it.

Jymi’s Rating: 94%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 93.5 %

MOB review next weekend: EFES DRAFT by GEBRAUT

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

 

AGGLESTONE

BREWER: Hattie Browns, Dorset, England

STYLE: Amber Ale

ABV: 4.5%

VESSEL: 500ml brown bottle

TWITTER: n/a

INSTAGRAM: hattiebrownsbrewery

DATE OF POST: 22nd August 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

After a curious start that had me thinking that the label was of a scene on the moon looking at the man on the moon (highly confusing stuff for Jymi that wasn’t helped by Hattie Browns Saturnesque logo), all became a little clearer once I turned the bottle around and read what Agglestone actually was. A rock on the Dorset coast surrounded in legend. Some say it was thrown by the devil from the Isle of Wight with the intention of hitting Sailsbury Cathedral. I mean you have to admire the distance ol’ Lucifer has got in his arm but you are gonna need to work on your accuracy pal.

Turning to the beer itself, this is an amber ale of a good refreshing quality. Which I was not expecting after inhaling the boozy almost rum like nose, which though very pleasant I again was not expecting from a 4.5% amber. But the beer, as mentioned, is refreshing in taste, sip and swallow. The aftertaste then turns a little woody and fades quite quickly. Not unpleasant but another turn I did not expect.

However, this is a good drinkable brew that I would happily have again but probably not go searching for.

Jymi’s Rating: 71%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

Hattie Brown’s have a great, tongue in cheek, concept with Agglestone. And for that alone they should be applauded. I love the story on this beer. If you want to know what it is, well, you’re going to have to get your mitts on one!

The burnt caramel notes on the nose leave you in no doubt that Agglestone is an amber ale. However, it needs to be mentioned that it’s pretty dark in the glass. More bitter tones than amber ales to be fair.

Before drinking Agglestone, I was rooting for it to be an incredible beer. While it might not reach those heights, it is a good brew. It’s got flavour and feel in the mouth but it’s a little thin in the finishing and washes away quickly, leaving a medium bitter finish. I’d like to have a little more of the musty caramel coming through. For me, this would elevate this beer.

I would say, get your hands on an Agglestone. Defo worthy of a try!

Sammy’s Rating: 71%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 71%

MOB review next weekend: BILLY DON’T YOU RUN SO FAST by DOUBLE-BARRELLED BREWERY

Sammy & Jymi – Musing on Booze since 2017

 

CANNON BALL

BREWER: Magic Rock, West Yorkshire, England

STYLE: IPA

ABV: 7.4%

VESSEL: 330ml tin

TWITTER: @MagicRockBrewCo

INSTAGRAM: magicrockbrewing

DATE OF POST: 15th August 2021

 

JYMI SAY’S…

There was a time, not that long ago to be fair, where a 7.4% beer was considered crazy strong. Reason being is that, it really is crazy strong. But of more recent times folk don’t raise their eyebrows so much at such a high percentage. TWO reasons for this are that there are plenty of brews around that are way stronger but also when a beer is around 7% nowadays it’s more than often disguised.

Cannon Ball’s booziness is not disguised. It’s boozy. It’s too boozy actually. And lacking some body as well which is most curious seeing as it’s (not sure I’ve mentioned this) really boozy.

Look, this is a perfectly acceptable beer but is a little obvious in it’s characteristics and just missing the point a little. There are decent enough tropical notes in nose and taste. The look in the glass is great. And the mouthfeel is good. But it’s all too predicable and when joined by the fact that it’s lacking body and tasting a bit too strong it all just ends up as a bit disappointing.

Jymi’s Rating: 61%

 

SAMMY SAY’S…

The first thing of note about Cannon Ball is the nose is delightful. Not complicated, but completely tropical. It takes you to a wonderful place that you only hope the taste can deliver on.

Then, as you sup down the lovely amber liquid, you’re hit with an upfront sweetness followed by a short bitter aftertaste. And this is good. This is what we expect, nay demand, of a modern craft IPA. But, yes, there’s a but, it’s all a little underwhelming. And let me be clear, I don’t mean bad, because Cannon Ball is not bad. It’s just, well, it’s mediocre.

Would I have another? Sure I would. If offered.

Would I buy another? Possibly. But Cannon Ball is nowhere near the top of my shopping list.

Sammy’s Rating: 66%

 

MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 63.5%

MOB review next weekend: AGGLESTONE by HATTIE BROWNS

Musing on Booze weekly since 2017